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Entries in vintage jewelry collection (4)

Jewelry Collection Stories: @homeoftheland

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Today's latest installment of Jewelry Collection Stories comes from Jemima who we all know in our jewelry community as @homeoftheland. I love her taste in jewelry and her personal collection reflects just that! She isn't afraid to wear bold pieces and I've enjoyed connecting her with the seller of one of her most exquisite pieces--the elongated diamond ring. I'll let her tell you about her collection, take it away:

I inherited the jewelry fever from my mother who is pragmatic and no-nonsense in most every other way but still wants her jewels. My father was happy to oblige her with some beautiful antique pieces they picked out together for special occasions and she has no qualms about filling the gaps in her collection herself. She recently bought an outrageous Edwardian emerald and diamond three stone ring at the Hillsborough Antique Show that I lust after constantly. I collected vintage Gucci bags from the 1960's and 1970's for many years (I still own and love them) before I started to transition more to jewelry over a decade ago when I could afford some of the pieces I wanted.

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There is something I love in every era but I always look for big, evocative, narrative pieces. I did visuals for retailer Anthropologie for a very long time and jewelry is an integral part of my bougie-boho aesthetic. Dainty pieces just disappear on me (although I love admiring them on other people). I love figurative animal jewelry and have acquired everything from Victorian snakes to a 1980's Kieselstien-Cord alligator ring to my contemporary Elsa Peretti scorpion necklace. Another one of my favorite pieces is a long Edwardian diamond ring that I first lusted over on a fellow Instagramer. When Danielle at Gem Gossip posted that the owner was letting it go, I jumped on it.

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There have been studies that people get more gratification from spending money on experiences rather than objects. To me beautiful jewelry is both an object and an experience every time you wear it. Rings are my favorite because you can admire them while you wear them. I love the craftsmanship- the touch of the hand. There is an emotional connection to a piece that was exquisitely made. I also love that jewelry speaks to the time and place that it was made whether it be from the Victorian era or the Dynasty/Dallas 1980's.

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I fell in love with snake jewelry because of the baby sitter that stayed with my brother and I when my parents went off on their world travels. She was an original hippie Deadhead with an old BMW 2002. She had this amazing jeweled gold Victorian snake coil bracelet that she inherited. She'd casually wear it on her upper arm with jeans and a beat up tank top. I convinced her to let me borrow it for my senior prom. I hated my dress and my date, and the hairstylist screwed up my updo but it was worth it because I got to wear the snake.

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Jemima --> @HomeoftheLand

Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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This month's Jewelry Collection Story comes from Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry and it is a good one! Kate is a full-time art teacher and part-time jewelry enthusiast and collector. You may already be following her on Instagram, but if not you must. Her collection is pretty amazing and her story may resonate with many of you. So without further ado, I give you Kate's collection story:

I’ve always loved jewelry. I have early memories of playing "dress up" and "jewelry store" with my grandmother Louise. She kept her jewelry in the top dresser drawer. Oh how I loved looking inside those little boxes and seeing all the sparkly jewels inside! We would arrange her jewels on top of carefully arranged bits of pretty fabrics and embroidered handkerchiefs and take turns "shopping." It was so much fun trying on her white dress gloves and high heels and playing with all those pretty things.

When I was around 10 years old, my dad started giving me jewelry every year for Christmas, mostly rings. One year, I received a topaz ring that had the most amazing shade of bright blue. I adored that ring! Another favorite ring given to me by my dad was a gold signet ring that he had monogramed with my initials. I think I was around 15 at the time. It’s a classic look that will never go out of style and one I wear often today.

One of my favorite early jewelry memories was when my family went out to dinner before my high school senior award night. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to win the top artist award in my class, and my parents bought me this beautiful southwestern sterling bracelet and turquoise ring to mark the occasion. For high school graduation, I received a large, modernist sterling and gold ring. At the time, I wasn’t into yellow gold, and these bold sterling pieces were among the most beautiful pieces I owned. Luckily, my parents have continued the tradition of gifting me jewelry for special occasions, and I cherish them all. These pieces help to serve as reminders of special times in my life. My sweet husband has also joined in on the tradition and I have received many beautiful pieces from him now over the years, including my very first (and favorite) Victorian bird bangle bracelet and my beloved antique turquoise and diamond halo ring.

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As a teenager, I was really into second-hand shops--mainly for vintage clothes and small decorative items, but eventually I started picking up inexpensive jewelry and odds-and-ends; like pendants, chokers, chains, etc. At about the same time, I started making beaded jewelry and even gifting and selling pieces to my friends.

Years later, I decided to try my hand at selling handmade jewelry on Etsy. It was a fun, challenging, and creative outlet. Those were the relative early days of Etsy, and I grew as it grew. I did this for a couple of years and slowly started incorporating more and more vintage jewelry components and findings into my pieces. Eventually, the competition increased and my enthusiasm waivered, so I put my shop on hold.

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My love affair with antique jewelry began about eight years ago when my mom and I were antiquing at one of my favorite stores in Richmond, IN. My mom fell head-over-heels for this old gold cameo ring. At first, I was like, "What? Cameos? Ugh, I don’t get it." Then much to my surprise, my mom professed her life-long love affair with cameos, citing stories from her youth. The shop owner quoted her a low price and my mom quickly bought the ring. She wasn’t one to make fine jewelry purchases on our excursions together, so I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I couldn’t stop staring at this unusual reddish-orange cameo ring on our drive back home; I was fascinated by it. It didn’t look like the girly, pink cameos I was used to seeing. It was more masculine in style and the gold was a rich rose color. The shop owner estimated the ring to be about 120 years old.

To my knowledge, I had never seen a ring that old before and now I wanted one for myself! The more I researched, the more I realized what an amazing deal my mom got on that ring. Sure, it was more than I was used to spending on random antique mall purchases (about $85), but still affordable. This made antique jewelry seem obtainable to me for the first time ever. I started reading jewelry books, researching online, and educating myself on antique jewelry. I liked learning the history behind each piece. It’s a perfect fit for me-- combining my love of history, research, sentiment, story, etc.

Inspired by my new passion and focus, I reopened my Etsy shop--selling only vintage and antique jewelry. I absolutely loved hunting for old jewelry, even cameos! Thinking back to that special trip to Richmond with my mom, I believe this was the critical moment that later turned this new interest into a full-blown hobby and part-time job for me.

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Today I have such a deep and sincere appreciation for antique jewelry; I tend to collect a little bit of everything. All in all, I tend to go more for Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco pieces. Rings are probably my favorite type of jewelry to wear and collect. I love everything from dainty to bold, statement rings. I also love antique bangles and Deco necklaces in all sorts of finishes, metals, and styles.

One of my favorite things to collect are watches. My favorite makers are Longines and Bucherer. I have everything from watch pins, watch rings, wristwatches, and pocket watches. And I really love long enamel watch necklaces. My love of watch necklaces probably began when I scored an amazing Bucherer red guilloche enamel watch ball necklace for $60 in a small, local antique shop. I later learned this was a remarkable deal for one with its original enamel chain in perfect condition. I’ve since added about 10 more to my collection over the years. I just can’t stop myself when I see a beautiful one for a good price. I have such a weakness for fine guilloche enamel-work.

In addition, I love bird-themed jewelry and have many bird bangles, lockets, etc. I tend to favor cool-color pieces in general (it must be the Pisces in me!). I am very fond of blue--sapphires, lapis, zircon, and turquoise to name a few. Pale lavender chalcedony, dreamy moonstones, and that particular shade of green commonly used in Art Deco pieces--are all personal favorites. I have a growing collection of snake rings, too.

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I enjoy shopping at small, local places best. The Midwest is a gold mine for antiques of all kinds. The big jewelry enthusiasts seem to live on either coast and being stuck in the middle has its advantages... lower prices and less pickers. But this seems to get harder every year. My favorite display cases and shops seem to be shutting down. The old dealers retire; some pass away. I think part of me has also wanted to open a brick and mortar shop, but the risks are scary.

Currently, I seem to have the most luck shopping at antique shows and online auctions. I’m always on the hunt for new pieces. I would love to own more niello jewelry, antique enamel bracelets, and gutta percha bangles inlaid with gold. I have a thing for portrait paintings but oddly, own no portrait jewelry. I interned at the National Portrait Gallery right after college and it’s a subject I’m really interested in. I would love to find the perfect emerald ring and more "name" or "initial" jewelry to represent the important people in my life.

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Recently I celebrated a milestone birthday (hello, 40!) and had been hunting for the perfect aquamarine birthstone piece of jewelry for months. Then it finally happened...a huge, honking, 14-carat, Victorian, pear-shaped aqua ring in 15K gold popped up on my Instagram feed. Its large size, unfussy setting, and perfect pale-blue color, stopped me dead in my tracks. A direct quote from the seller was, "a mesmerizing, dreamy, huge piece of magic." Indeed it was. I sold three personal collection rings to make room for this special ring, the latest addition to my jewelry box.

Back when I started wearing, selling, and collecting antique jewelry, I was the only one I knew who did. I just bought what I liked and what I could afford at the time. It wasn’t until I joined IG a couple of years ago that I found other like-minded people who loved and appreciated old jewelry as much as I do. Like most sellers/collectors, I am searching for more high quality and unusual pieces nowadays. Lately, there seems to be more competition, more reproductions, and higher prices on the online auction sites, making it harder to "score" a deal. While I may not be selling forever, I know I will be wearing and enjoying my jewelry for the rest of my life. It brings me so much joy. Marking special occasions and making new memories with jewelry are so important to me. Jewelry has a way of keeping our memories alive...providing a tangible reminder... connecting us to the people, places, and significant moments we cherish in life. Happy hunting!

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Kate --> @LuxCharmJewelry

Jewelry Collection Stories: Nathalie of @NathaliesDesk

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We are back with this month's Jewelry Collection Story and it comes from Nathalie whom I discovered on Instagram! She has been posting eye-catching and droolworthy images of her personal collection, including her incredible and rare antique ring case collection. It was awesome to see that she found my #JewelryRoadTrip to Ohio alluring enough to buy two of the rings I featured--I love when people are able to connect that way with items that I showcase, it is honestly why I started the #JewelryRoadTrip project in the first place! I had to know more about her and her story, as well as see first-hand her gorgeous collection. Take it away Nathalie:

My journey with jewelry began with a 24K yellow gold bracelet.  It was a Sweet Sixteen birthday gift from my mother, my first jewelry piece from her – and I was disappointed.  At that age, I was hoping for new clothes, new shoes, or the latest coolest CD player.  I thanked my mother and tucked it away because I thought yellow gold was for old ladies.  Every year after that, she continued to bestow yellow gold to me on my birthdays.  They came in the form of more bracelets, necklaces, and pendants.  Each time, I would thank her, put away the pieces, and never wear them.  

On my 21st birthday, after receiving another piece of yellow gold jewelry it finally occurred to me to ask my mother why she chose this as my annual gift over other things.  To this she replied, “When you were 7 months old, your father and I had to escape our mother country (Vietnam) and when we arrived to our new country (France), I had to sell my jewelry in order to get things like food.”  And she kept on talking and sharing.  And I felt shame for being ungrateful, heartbreak for the hardships my parents endured.  I also started to see and love my mother in a whole new light.  She is my Wonder Woman.  And this was also the day I truly fell in love with jewelry and became a collector.

A while back, there was a question floating around in the Instagram world asking “Does jewelry make you a better person?”  To that I say “Yes, it does!”  It can lift your spirits up, it can create a bond between people, it can commemorate the loss of a loved one, or punctuate a special occasion.  Sometimes it is just downright magical.  If you are reading this blog, then I am sure you have chased or currently chasing some unicorn in the form of a ring, bracelet, necklace, or earrings.

I look for treasures in all kinds of places: at my local shops, fairs, and online (eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane).  Collecting has its ebbs and flows.  I have gone years without buying a single piece, and other times when that is all I can think about!  What attracts me also seems to have its cycles which is why I rarely part with any of my pieces.  I am an equal bling opportunist, but I tend to gravitate towards rings.  I do think I am at a point where I need to par down a bit to make room for some new fabulous pieces.  Discovering the Instagram community truly enriched my knowledge and appreciation for past and current jewelry, in addition to making some lovely connections with others who understand this passion.

When I became a mom two and half years ago, I started daydreaming about what stories I would share with my daughter.  Every time I bring out my jewelry to play she is always by my side asking to play along.  It is so fun to see her light up as I let her try on my pieces.  Little does she know that she is already the owner of something very special.  When she had turned one month old my mother had gifted her the sweetest 24K gold bracelet.  And there will be many more treasures waiting for her.


 

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Nathalie --> @NathaliesDesk

Jewelry Collection Stories: Natalie's Jewels

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

There's always those kind of people that you feel like you've known your entire life and for me, Natalie is exactly that kind of person! I got to meet her for the first time on my trip to LA just last month and her passion for jewelry is electric. She has been lighting up Instagram and other social media platforms for Jewels by Grace as their Instagram manager and photographer (as of February 2016, she no longer works for Jewels by Grace). So happy to have her share her new, yet growing collection with us today--take it away, Natalie:

"I have been attracted to sparkly things for as long as I can remember, an attraction that quickly became an enthusiastic hobby, which has since manifested itself into a full-blown love of gems and jewels. It has also helped persuade me to attend GIA in the pursuit of becoming a Graduate Gemologist, which I am really excited about! I’ve been a collector for a long time, but have only recently begun collecting fine jewelry. My first piece of memorable jewelry is a yellow gold necklace with six pearls, it was given to me by my beloved uncle when I turned 6. My next most significant piece was a mother of pearl and white gold ring with a freeform, organic vibe that my mother designed and had made for me when I graduated high school. My third most memorable piece was also my first antique jewel, an early Art Deco-era diamond and sapphire dome ring. This was a college graduation present from my late grandmother, a particularly special gift because it was one of the few remaining pieces of jewelry from my great-grandmother’s estate. These pieces will forever remain some of my most cherished treasures, and they have definitely aided in sparking my interest in jewelry.

Fast forward a few years to when I was newly engaged and searching for thee perfect wedding band to pair with my antique ring. Enter Grace Lavarro of Jewels by Grace, and the platinum french cut and single cut diamond eternity band that started it all. What quickly followed was a custom pair of pear-shaped rose cut diamond earrings that my mother designed for me, as well as a diamond wedding band that I designed for my husband. I was hooked, not only were the jewels beautiful, but so was the amazing, generous woman behind them.

Since that fateful time two years ago, I have had the pleasure of working with Grace as a jewelry photographer and managing the Instagram account for Jewels by Grace. I have been taking much joy in familiarizing myself with this wonderful industry, as well as getting to play with the numerous jaw-dropping pieces that come our way. Given my extreme lack of self-control, especially when it comes to antique jewels, I ended up “adopting” many of the pieces in my personal collection from Grace. I also love to collect pieces from other friends in the jewelry industry, two of my latest acquisitions have been a Georgian diamond pendant necklace conversion piece from Angela of GemstoneGypsy, as well as an antique table cut and rose cut diamond ring from Laurel of LaurelStearns.

Lenore Dailey once told me that I was an “old soul” when it came to the jewels I gravitated towards, and I couldn't agree more. I love antique jewels - the rarity, the unique designs and cuts used, and the undeniable sense of time passed and enduring beauty simply delight me. I will forever be in awe of the level of craftsmanship that exists in pieces that have been on this earth for hundreds of years--don’t even get me started on Byzantine and Medieval jewelry! I hope to add a few ancient jewels to my collection in the near future, but for now I am quite happy with my antique and vintage pieces. My favorite design eras would have to be Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian, though there are some contemporary designers that are also creating amazing designs.

What you see below is much of my humble fine jewelry collection (Please keep in mind I’ve only been collecting for about a year or so!), with the addition of a few pieces from my bling partner-in-crime’s (aka my mother’s) collection for some added sparkle. Enjoy!"

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

My own gemmy version of an ISpy page, a photo that is representative of the collector in me. to name a few: antique gold pendants, an antique figa (from LenoreDailey), a rose cut diamond and gold claw pendant (from MarketSquareJewelers), a big ol’ pearl, raw almandine garnets, turquoise from the No. 8 Mine, boulder opal specimens from Australia, gold nuggets from a trip to Alaska, vintage and antique gold stick pins, a 17ct bi-color quartz, and a lapiz lazuli standing point (from The Opaque) to name a few!

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

Current favorites, including the Georgian citrine ring my husband surprised me with and the early Art Deco-era gold signet ring that was found with all three of my initials! Also a Victorian rose cut garnet 5-stone ring, vintage hexagonal opal ring (from Jenn of BellflowerBay), and a new addition: Victorian old mine cut diamond and crystal opal earring-to-ring conversion (from Jewels by Grace).

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

You can never have too many navettes, including two of my favorites: a perfectly grungy antique foil-backed rose cut diamond navette ring (my score from this year’s Antique Show in Las Vegas) and my mini Victorian old mine and old European cut diamond navette ring, in buttery 18t yellow gold (Jewels by Grace). #nevertoomanynavettes

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Ring stacking, one of my favorite pastimes. Clockwise from top left:

  • Admiring the attention to detail shown to the shanks of these antique rings.
  • Colored gemstones in action in the fading sunlight.
  • Some bands from my collection.
  • Rings designed by my mother, including the giant onyx and silver ring she manufactured for me! Also shown is a 6-stone August Vintage Round diamond band she & I designed with JbG.

Ring stacking, part two. Clockwise from top left:

  • The fleet of navettes in action.
  • A sampling of my yellow gold jewelry, including my late uncle’s massively chunky ring, and a sentimental double-row diamond ring from my mother (from my father, who never buys jewelry~).
  • Antique rings doing their thing.
  • A few more antique rings.

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

A spectrum of colored gemstones: Victorian rose cut garnet 5-stone ring, antique ruby and diamond navette ring (from Jewels by Grace), vintage pink sapphire and diamond ring (a family heirloom from my husband’s family that was given to me on our wedding day), Georgian citrine shield ring, vintage hexagonal opal ring (from Jenn of BellflowerBay), Victorian old mine cut diamond and crystal opal earring-to-ring conversion (JbG), antique emerald and diamond navette ring (JbG), Victorian bloodstone ring, antique Persian turquoise ring, sleeping beauty turquoise ring (from SkyDogJewelry), aquamarine ring, vintage Native American moonstone ring.

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

Rings, my favorite type of jewelry, especially when they are vintage or antique: antique faint pink rose cut diamond tablet ring (JbG), Art Deco-era geometric diamond ring, vintage old European cut diamond dinner ring (JbG)

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

The crème de la crème of my wedding ring stack, an antique cushion cut diamond halo ring (inscribed 1809!) in platinum, on a peachy rose gold shank. This diamond had me at hello; for all the beautiful jewels I’ve seen while working with Grace, this ring truly called out to me. I loved the fact that it was so old, and yet the elongated octagonal design was beautifully simple and timeless.

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

Earrings; from left: beautiful paste and rose gold earrings (a Christmas gift from the wonderful Grace herself), my great grandmother’s antique amethyst and pearl earrings, the earrings my mother surprised me with on my wedding day, a pair of old European cut diamond earrings my mother had made for herself.

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

Jewels that belonged to my grandmother who passed recently; I wear the solid gold nugget almost daily as a reminder of her love. The gold cartouche was acquired in Egypt by her many decades ago.

Natalie's Collection | Gem Gossip

A close-up of my wedding day bracelet, a surprise gift from my mother, with each charm being hand selected to bring us luck. The locket opens up to pictures of my husband and I as kids!

>> You can follow Natalie on Instagram @fortheloveofgems